Africa tales | wishing for more self-assurance

18 July 2014

Every evening in Africa, we would have a big discussion group with all our fellow travelers.  Distant to everything connecting us to our past life, our fears, our reservations.  So needless to say, in that cabin on a nature reserve in Swasiland, Africa, there was a lot of opening up and supporting one another in our individual stories.  It was powerful and unforgettable.

Here is the night after one discussion group:

Anyway after many, many hugs, Kelli and I retreat back to our bedroom.  We stay up particularly late talking deeply about the state of our lives back home.  She shares all the anxiety she's been having, and she didn't realize how unhappy she was until she came to Africa.  We discuss her confusion over her current relationship and not knowing if she wants to take it with her into the future.

Then we can hear Lucas talking so distinctly as if he is in our room.  "LUCAS??"  Kelli shouts.  She jumps up and checks the closet.  "WHAT??"  he replies.  "WHERE ARE YOU??"  "I'M UPSTAIRS ON CHRIS'S BED."  "OOOOH, OK AS LONG AS YOU'RE NOT IN HERE.  K GOODNIGHT!"  We hush our voices and continue talking.  Later, we tell Lucas that we could hear him so clearly and thought he was in our bedroom.  He tells us that the moment after we stopped talking to him, Chris turned to him and said, "I can hear every word they say every night."  Kelli and I look at each other in fright, knowing our conversations aren't for the ears of a 15 year-old boy.  Then we all break out into laughter, Lucas having a good idea of what we talk about.

Anyway, after Kelli and I discuss the current stresses in her life, I tell her a bit about mine.  Mostly that I try so hard to not offend anyone, ever.  I feel submerged a lot of the time.

She tells me that I sit on a unique advantage point that I need to be aware of - that I hold a lot of power as a spokesperson - and when I'm comfortable in that awareness, I could really cause a lot of change with my boldness.  Basically telling me I don't have any need to "play it safe" like I feel that I do.  I look at her confused and intrigued.  She says that people react very differently to people blessed with several factors, shallow as they may be  - education, talent, wit, attractiveness.  People place their respect in those, whether they realize it or not, so I need to realize that I have a vantage point and then use it.

I'm stunned.  What incredible words and thoughts.  We stay up much later discussing and sharing and understanding.  But then sadly decide we must get some rest before work tomorrow.  

As my eyes close, I churn over what she said about me.  How do I want to navigate my safe zone with the power of spokesmanship that I hold?  How far out on the branch of what I believe am I willing to walk?

Too tired for such questions.  I'll think about them later.  And I drift off to sleep.

Upward and onward,

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